019 by Berlinde De Bruyckere, 2007, wax, epoxy, metal, glass, wood, blankets, 293.5 x 517 x 77.5 cm, Collection Claude Berri © Andri Stadler- click to enlarge
I've often raved about Berlinde's art on here - in fact, her work even invades my everyday life as arty backdrop - so I'll spare you the superlatives but instead just want to make you aware that if you're Melbourne-based, you now have less than a week left to catch her fascinating We Are All Flesh show at the ACCA.
In case you were wondering: Yes, Berlinde did have a show with the same title three years ago at Hauser & Wirth in London but it seems that different and lots of newly commissioned works are on display in Melbourne.
If you're not yet familiar with her work, the 15-minute interview below offers a great introduction into her vision, process and technique but of course will neither replace the olfactory, visceral and epidermic qualities of the wax, skin, hair and fabrics she uses for her sculptures, nor explain the necrophiliac alchemistic ways in which she can turn branches into limbs, tree trunks into fresh corpses by masterfully applying an organic colour palette (pinks for skin, off-white for adipose tissue, greys/greens/blues for the circulatory system) onto wax with which she can control, halt and synthesise transformation, decay, death.
If you're not in Australia but in.. who knows.. Turkey, you can also catch her Wound show at the ARTER Space for Art in Istanbul until August 26 where she has inspired Vincent Dunoyer to dance Bruyckeresque choreographies in the exhibition space surrounded by her sculptures.
Details for the Istanbul show can be found here. The information below is for the ACCA exhibition.
On show: Jun 2 - Jul 29, 2012
Hours: Tue - Fri: 10 AM - 5 PM, Sat - Sun: 11 AM - 6 PM, Mon: By appointment
Max Klinger at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Strasbourg, and OH MAH GAWD IS SHE BACK OR WAT
An die Schönheit; Vom Tode Zweiter Teil by Max Klinger, etching, 1890, courtesy V&A London - click to enlarge
Hi. I guess I'm back. Let's see whether I can still werq dis blog, yo.
In case you were wondering, I've been mainly hanging out over on FB (yes, yes, I know... stop looking at me like that - it just so happens that most of my online contacts are over there and it's just been too convenient to stay in touch). Anyway, just like most other anti-social online platforms, I'm using FB in a very unusual and actually useful way so if you care about getting a more daily dose of Wurzeltod®, you can subscribe to its public updates.
I'll try to do a better job at mirroring my FB posts to my Twitter like I used to do in the past for all those of you who rightly boycott FB, but let's face it, it's just not in my nature to ever be concise enough to tweet successfully.
I have also fed the forum with loads of new content, so go check it out and please note that a lot of the posts are NSFW. I can highly recommend the Symbiosis/Parasitism/Mutual Decay, the Eros & Thanatos as well as the Eyeballs thread. They make me happy. Yes they do.
Flickr update is also imminent, btw, maybe this news is of interest to those of you who still mainly remember me for sporting industrial insulation tape on nipples and other shit we used to do on Fotolog in the early noughties for reasons I now ABSOLUTELY cannot remember.
NEVER MIND.. on to more important matters now: Art that doesn't suck. We'll start with painter, sculptor and engraver genius Max Klinger.
Brahmsphantasie, Opus XII: Abduction of Prometheus by Max Klinger, etching, 1894 - click to enlarge
Max Klinger. We had him here back in 2008 with two examples from his magnificent dream-inspired Paraphrases about the Finding of a Glove series from 1881.
Now the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Strasbourg is presenting a vast range of his engravings in a show called Max Klinger - The Theatre of the Bizarre which, as the title suggests, hopes to focus on how Klinger was forever driven by dream imagery and the relentless search for ways to visualise the cryptic, the elusive, the primordial, the eldritch, the uncharted, the subconscious.
Strasbourg hasn't sent me the press login through yet but with the museum's graphic arts room housing nearly 200 of Klinger's engravings, I can guarantee you that you will find some fantastic oneiric trouvailles at this retrospective.
Rettungen Ovidischer Opfer, Opus II: Erstes Intermezzo by Max Klinger, etching, courtesy British Museum London - click to enlarge
On show: May 15 - Sep 16, 2012
Hours: Tue - Sun: 10 AM - 6 PM
Self Portrait as Post Script by Julie Heffernan, 2007, oil on canvas, 67 x 56 inches - click to enlarge
Announcements of new Heffernan shows (thank you, Phantasmaphile!) are always a good excuse for me to go for a dive in the endless pool of her archived works - and realise that Booty (see image above and below) remains my favourite series to date.
And although I'm not entirely sure which of her flora-and-fauntastical self-portraits will be on show at the Infinite Work in Progress solo show, the well-chosen title and the fact that there's over 20 works on display both suggest that the probability that you'll get to see something from the Booty series is mathematically speaking relatively high.
I know I normally tend to post free exhibitions here but yes, I would still say that it's worth the $12 (OUCH, Y THOUGH?!) admission fee.
Self Portrait as Spill by Julie Heffernan, 2007, oil on canvas, 68 x 60 inches - click to enlarge
On show: Feb 16 - May 13, 2012
Hours: Tue - Sat: 10 AM - 5 PM, Sun: 12 - 5 PM
Still from Mound video by Allison Schulnik, 2011 - click to enlarge
I don't think I ever had a) an exhibition announcement for Overland Park, Kansas and b) so little information on a show as there seems to be neither preview nor press release for Allison Schulnik's Nerman Museum show so I guess it's just an uhmm.. exhibition of Allison Schulnik's video work? Yay. ¬_¬
From the three images on the museum website, all I can gather is that more recent works will be on show as the pictures are all stills from her Mound video that the museum recently acquired and which you can see below.
So if you're planning to check it out, do share your impressions so I can update this post.
On show: Jan 13 - Apr 1, 2012
Address: Nerman Museum, Second Floor Galleries, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park, KS 66210, USA, tel: +1 913.469.3000
Hours: Tue, Wed, Thu, Sat: 10 AM - 5 PM, Fri: 10 AM - 9 PM, Sun: 12 - 5 PM
Fake Death Picture (The Death of Chatterton - Henry Wallis) by Yinka Shonibare, MBE, 2011, digital chromogenic print, framed: 58 5/8 x 71 1/4 in. (148.91 x 180.98 cm) - click to enlarge
To be perfectly honest with you, I would even post about this show if I didn't like a single artwork on display other than Fake Death Picture (The Death of Chatterton) (top) because channeling my favourite accidental (?) suicide painting of all time will always get you a mention on here.
Oh, wait, and there's that... that fucking machine... err... pardon me, Anti-Hysteria Device (bottom). Yeah.
For Addio del Passato, British-born Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare has once again worked with his signature fabrics and created beautifully lavish costumes in bold colours and absolutely delectable opulent interiors achieving a gorgeous chiaroscuro of fabrics, textures and complexions so rich that you're almost forgetting you're actually looking at scenes of death. Well, at least a series of photographic re-enactments of famous death and suicide scenes of art history.
Btw, if you missed Yinka's beautiful Nelson's Ship in a Bottle on Trafalgar Square's Forth Plinth, you might be able to see it at the National Maritime Museum in future if their campaign to save it from being sold is successful. Meanwhile, Elmgreen and Dragset have put a semi-nude very camp golden boy ridin' a poneh in its place and I'm of course always very pleased about any kind of prepuberty sleaze in public squares.
Anti-Hysteria Device by Yinka Shonibare, MBE, 2011, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, wood, metal with motor, 30 3/8 x 41 x 18 7/8 in. (77 x 104 x 48 cm), photograph: Stephen White - click to enlarge
On show: Feb 16 - Mar 24, 2012
Address: James Cohan Gallery, 533 West 26th Street New York NY 10001, USA, tel: 212.714.9500, email: email@example.com
Hours: Tue - Sat: 10 AM - 6 PM
Like Thieves at Midnight by Nazif Topçuoğlu, c-print, 121 x 210 cm, 2011 - click to enlarge
Ah, I missed the glorious opportunity to tie this post in with my recent article on Hisaji Hara - it would have been a very smooth and insightful transition as both Nazif and Hisaji sure are experts in the complex inner workings and psychopathologies of Balthusesque girlhood.
Nazif has a particularly great eye for all those (mind) games girls play and he uses the anachronistic form of the tableau vivant as his artistic modus operandi and way to study these games.
They're not too overcrowded tableaux though so every single protagonist becomes an integral part of the plot. The girls strike pathos-laden meandering poses reminiscent of distant art history - to mind come motives such diverse as the Pietà, the Deposition from the Cross, the Incredulity of Saint Thomas, Salome, even the Raft of the Medusa, Liberty Leading the People and famous death scenes from Jacques-Louis David’s Marat to Henry Wallis' gorgeous Death of Chatterton. I could go on. I want to go on as this is exactly what makes Nazif's work so very rich but I'm afraid I'd never get to an end.
The Turtle Charmer by Nazif Topçuoğlu, c-print, 167 x 120 cm, 2011 - click to enlarge
The details of the scenes are staggering too and always spot on: We see seductively parted lips, extruding collar bones, golden glowing skin - youth doesn't come much more beckoning than as it's captured in Nazif's work.
It's also fascinating to observe that his group scenes never seem staged, but narrated; his girls are never exposed but embedded; they are not vulnerable and exploited but self-conscious and very much in charge of the scene - in one sentence: They have definitely grown up.
In a way, it could be argued that Nazif is just as much a director or a choreographer as he is a photographer because getting these nuances right is something that has a lot to do with understanding every single bone and muscle of the body and face - and that's also precisely what gives his tableaux a very painterly, very warm, very intimate, very incarnate and very baroque atmosphere.
I know it's probably rather unlikely you are in the United Arab Emirates right now but if you ARE, do go check out his very comprehensive solo show at Green Art Gallery in Dubai until March 5. Details below.
Introspection by Nazif Topçuoğlu, c-print, 120 x 168 cm, 2010 - click to enlarge
On show: Jan 11 - Mar 5, 2012
Director/writer team Gisèle Vienne and Dennis Cooper have been working as a pair on theatre projects since 2004 and are now presenting a series of haunting productions, puppets and portraits at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Their show Teenage Hallucination evokes uncanny memories of the Chapman Brothers' army of creepy mutant girls (particularly the brothers' recent hybrid girl army with THEY TEACH US NOTHING swastika hoodies).
However, Gisèle's Olimpias are a lot less grotesque and hyperreal than the Chapman's creations but more cracked and broken in their appearance and there's a subtle sense of mutilated and traumatised individuality in her adolescents' intimidated stares and serious outfits.
39 dolls will be on show as an installation accompanied by a beautifully shot photographic documentation of Gisèle's work with and on them.
Also on show will be Gisèle's and Dennis' newest theatrical piece which was produced in collaboration with Stephen O'Malley of SunnO))) fame (working on sound as well as wall drawing designs) entitled Last Spring: A Prequel (a trailer has not emerged yet, sadly, but will be added to this post later).
But that's still not all because Teenage Hallucination is part of a festival at the Centre Pompidou that's packed with talks, presentations and screenings with other artists, filmmakers and authors and this coming Sunday promises to be particularly interesting/provoking with a presentation of Peter Sotos' Mine Kept and Pierre Dourthe (Hans Bellmer author) discussing The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death.
The full programme of festival events is here. It's quite intense if not slightly insane. Teenage Hallucination itself has opened tonight and will remain on view until March 12. Further details below.
On show: Feb 22 - Mar 12, 2012
Hours: Daily: 11 AM - 9 PM
We interrupt this broadcast to bring you this important intergalactic message from the data highway/PoE:
In my early childhood, when we visited the fairgrounds in late autumn with a bag of Marroni (roasted chestnuts) warming my little hands, my mum would always tell me about how, when she was my age, the Halbstarke ("half-strongs"/"semi-toughs" - a movement both popularised and simplified by the movie Teenage Wolfpack) used to hang out near fairgrounds, looking intimidating, cool and... desirable.
Growing up in the 80s with unsightly skinny kids in stonewashed neon jeans and perms occupying fairgrounds, it always sounded like a completely different world to me and my imagination turned the Halbstarke into some half-men/half-wolves - pillaging and ravaging everything in their way that hasn't fainted with hysteria yet.
In my teens - after studying the not unsimilar life and career of Swiss photographer genius and car crash fetishist Arnold Odermatt - I came across the photographic work of self-taught photographer and previous factory worker Karlheinz Weinberger (1921 - 2006 - GIVE THE MAN A WIKI PAGE!) and it took another year or two to link the stories my mother had told me to the hauntingly powerful yet disarming Weinberger portraits and to realise that post-WWII Switzerland really wasn't just all quaint and perfect but riddled with very diverse youth movements creating their very own eclectic aesthetic. An aesthetic that would some decades later inspire and influence the Swiss punk, post-punk and goth movements.
Until mid-March, Galerie Esther Woederhoff in Paris is showing a vast selection of works by Weinberger in an exhibition entitled Rebels. They're absolutely incredible snapshots of an often forgotten youth movement - shot partially in Weinberger's own pretty bourgeois living room - putting them in the very same Bildungsbürgertum environment they wanted to liberate themselves from - or in the great outdoors snogging in forests, riding pimped bikes, displaying their DIY gear, and just generally being totally badass, fierce and very un-Swiss.
A motive that's particularly prevalent throughout Weinberger's work is the focus on the display of male genitalia. Halbstarke developed their very own style, distressing jeans by taking zips out, replacing them with bolts or string and therefore setting a very deliberate phallic accent to their attire. Having worked for "Der Kreis" (AGAIN, GIVE THEM A WIKI PAGE!), a homoerotic magazine published by a Zurich club of the same name that even dared to publish highly critical material during the Nazi era, Weinberger was well versed in an aesthetic celebrating the sensuous youthful male.
However, he documented the halbstarke females in an equally admiring way and his portraits of girls with outrageously backcombed hair, kohl cat eyes, animal print or boldly striped jumpers, very tight waistlines and a lot of chuzpe show a great amount of empathetic closeness to their cause. He was on their side without being one of them.
Analysing the stylistic elements that made you halbstark, it's actually very interesting observing how certain elements broke with gender stereotypes while others enforced them with a shitload of testosterone:
For the guys this meant that the Hollywood version of the quiff was often grown longer and softened to look rather effeminate, jeans and leather jackets were often short and revealing but this was then counterbalanced with the masculinity of scary Hell's Angelesque back patches and of course the infamous horseshoe used as pendant - which was like the heavyweight 50s grandfather of the safety pin/pentagram/ankh.
The girls too walked a dual path both enforcing and breaking visual gender roles being the hourglass femme fatale only to adapt to a very tomboyish look and borrowing their boyfriend's horseshoes, jackets and bandanas the next day.
It was a fantastic and great experimentation ground for the days to come and a lot of it has survived until today - particularly in the goth, crust punk and biker movements. A political movement or not, a lot of the Halbstarke later joined the youth revolts of the late 60s and they have changed the visual landscape of Switzerland for good. Thankfully.
Exhibition details below.
On show: Feb 11 - Mar 17, 2012
Address: Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, 36, rue Falguière, 75015 Paris, France, tel: +33 (0)9 51 51 24 50, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours: Tue - Sat: 2 - 6 PM
A Study of "Because Cathy taught him what she learnt" by Hisaji Hara, 2010 - click to enlarge
I think it must have been the lovely Nana Rapeblossom who first introduced me to Hisaji Hara's work a few months back and I must admit that it comes as a bit of a surprise to see him showing at Michael Hoppen now.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Hoppen as it's a fantastic gallery with superb curating and as a matter of fact, they're also hosting a marvellous Guy Bourdin show at Hoppen Contemporary right now - but it seems I had just subconsciously assumed that for his first solo show on European soil, he would choose a museum rather than gallery context given his penchant for highly composed arrangements and established European painters, especially (and obviously) Balthus.
A Study of "But it was one of their chief amusements to run away to the moors" by Hisaji Hara, 2010 - click to enlarge
There's softened spatial serenity, composed simplicity, powdered sexuality, layered architecture, and ahistorical frozen theatricality to his works which are all aspects that are becoming ever rarer in a contemporary photography landscape which often seems dominated by the ironic dirty scenester snapshot so it's a huge joy and inspiration to see such works being appreciated "over here". Definitely a must-see for all London folks.
Opens Feb 24. Details below.
A Study of "Katia Reading" by Hisaji Hara, 2009 - click to enlarge
On show: Feb 24 - Mar 31, 2012
Hours: Mon - Fri: 10.30 AM - 6 PM, Sat: 10.30 - 5 PM